The GEF, the world’s largest public funder of international programs to benefit the global environment, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Over the past few weeks, the GEF has received expressions of support for its work so far, and of confidence in its future, from all corners of the GEF family. And, more are on their way.
A wide number of our partners, including ministers from donor and recipient countries, heads of the Rio Conventions, of our implementing and project agencies, have taken the opportunity of the GEF’s 25th Anniversary to express their recognition of past achievements of the GEF, and to reflect on the increasing importance of its role given the environmental challenges our planet is facing.
“As the GEF celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, its accomplishments must be recognized. The GEF has invested billions of dollars directly, and leveraged tens of billions more towards a better future,” said former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, on her last day in office. “The historic Paris Climate Change Agreement adopted in December of 2015 marked a turning point in the global response to climate change. It is built on a foundation of 190 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, for which the GEF provided crucial support to developing world governments.”
UNIDO Director General, Li Yong, said: “As UNIDO continues to broaden its technical expertise and comparative advantage, the partnership with the GEF has expanded to the provision of integrated solutions that not only target industry and environment, but also a variety of inter-connected issues, such as energy, gender, water, and land use.”
GEF member countries also took the opportunity to reflect back on the work the GEF has enabled in their countries through the past 25 years. In an article submitted by Trinidad & Tobago, the country recounts some of the positive impacts a 25-year long collaboration has had on the countries policies, procedures and interventions related to issues such as natural resources usage and management, biodiversity, land degradation, climate change, use of ozone depleting substances and persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Other countries recognized the importance of the GEF’s integrated approach to increasingly interrelated environmental issues.
“For us, it is crucial that the GEF remains faithful to its mandate as a key financial mechanism for a number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements. The fight against environmental degradation and efforts for global environmental benefits continue to need their steadfast supporter,” said Ms. Lenita Toivakka, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development of Finland. “At the same time, it is important to recognize the integrated and interlinked context within which the world community is striving towards economically, environmentally and socially sustainable development. The GEF2020 –GEF’s strategic vision – provides a good basis in this respect.”
“There is a direct connection between international conservation, resource scarcity, and economic, national, and global security. Funding from the GEF helps to catalyze innovative solutions to key global challenges such as tropical deforestation, water scarcity, declining marine fisheries, wildlife trafficking, and climate change,” said Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International.
Please visit our 25th Anniversary page to read more testimonies from our partners.